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Noah's flood

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Disclaimer: this article uses intelligent reasoning and available evidence to reach logical conclusions and encourages free thinking. As such, it is EXTREMELY HAZARDOUS to faith and represents a clear attack on religion. All good, right-thinking fundamentalist YEC Bible-thumpers should leave now.

In a documentary on myth making, some generic scholar was discussing the likelihood that Noah is an archaic story of a real dude who was living on a small land locked inlet, that flooded when a rain storm made a natural levee break to allow the sea into the isolate. "Ancient-dude" probably built himself a raft and saved his family and some animals. 1000's of years later, "Noah" and "God" and "40 days of rain" were born. [1]

Noah’s flood is an interpretation of narrative found in the Bible and the Torah, in the book of Genesis. The narrative tells the story of a great flooding of the world where every last animal except for the ones on a boat called Noah's Ark died. The flood, according to this imaginative story, happened because every person in the whole world (except Noah, Mrs Noah, their children and grandchildren) needed to be killed for wickidness. The narrative does not specify if the babies and very young children were killed because they were Evil Heathen Scum wicked or if they were just collateral damage. Further it does not specify if the animals were evil or if they were just collateral damage.[2] This story was borrowed from a Babylonian text called the Epic of Gilgamesh.

Gathering the Animals

There are two versions of this story. In Genesis 6:19-21, God tells Noah to bring in two of every animal on the earth. But then in Genesis 7:2-3 God tells Noah that he is to bring seven of every clean animal, and two of every unclean animal onto the Ark. The flood story most often taught in Sunday School is the first version... that two of every "kind" of animal were present on Noah's Ark (and omitting the second version).[3] This poses an incredible, most likely insurmountable, logistical problem. Noah would have never been able to travel all over the world and gather up every animal he needed on his Ark. Even if he didn't have to, and God just made the animals set out randomly for Mesopotamia, it still wouldn't have worked. Some animals would have had to make incredible journeys all the way from places like Antarctica.[4] This is incredibly implausible; most creatures would have faced insurmountable difficulties getting to the ark. Some animals can't swim which would make a journey from lands not connected to Mesopotamia impossible;[5] other animals move so slowly they would have died before they got to the Ark. Creatures like Dodo birds that came from sheltered habitats and had never had to deal with predation before would have been preyed upon mercilessly by superior predators such as wolves and the great cats. Some animals like koalas require special diets only found in certain places in the world, and if they had left the habitat where their food grew they would have starved to death.[5]

Caring for the Animals

Caring for the animals on Noah's ark would have been impossible. Simply feeding them would have been more than Noah and his family could have managed. Waste disposal and sanitation would have been a nightmare. In "The Genesis Flood" written by Tas Walker, he claims that "Noah may have had systems to automatically supply water and food to the animals and clear away their waste." This of course wasn't mentioned in the Bible.

Aquatic species survival

There was no marine life on the ark[6] so each observable aquatic species we see today, according to the flood myth, had to have survived the 376[7] days of the flood. This is extremely unlikely, as a complete flooding of the earth would produce such drastic ecological changes that most aquatic species would die off.[8]

Most freshwater fish are unable to survive in water with any salt at all so when the rising oceans mixed with the lakes and rivers they would have quickly gone extinct.[9] The extreme turbulence would have also killed fish that stayed near the ocean floor, small fish of the reef would be repeatedly pounded against rocks and mud.[10] Many fish would choke to death on sediment stirred up by the flood as well.[8]

Integrity of Noah's Ark

During the great flood Noah's Ark would have faced the most brutal weather in the history of the world. A study by Answers in Genesis asserts that the Ark could have withstood waves of up to 30 meters without overturning.[11] Waves in ocean storms can reach heights of up to 31 meters.[12] With the entire world flooded we are likely to see waves of a much greater magnitude. With an unlimited fetch, waves could possibly be expected to reach miles in height.[13]

The Rain Itself

The amount of water vapor suspended in air needed for a global flood would have been unbreathable. Humans, and virtually every other animal, would have drowned by the simple act of breathing. Water vapor is also a very powerful greenhouse gas, trapping more heat than other such gasses (e.g. CO2, methane), and so would have overheated the Earth (and thus its animals, including those boarding the ark) before the flood even began.

Fragile geological formations

The global flood, had it occurred, would have destroyed many geological formations. If you look at pictures of the ocean floor you will notice there are very few rocks piled up in columns. A study done by several creation scientists put the ocean speed varying between 40 and 80 meters a second. Rock pillars would be unable to survive this.[14] Even oceanic currents of normal speeds would have destroyed some of the more fragile specimens that are in existence today.

Post-Flood Animal Survival

After the flood the animals on the ark would have faced extreme difficulties. Populations of less than 20 members are almost certainly doomed to extinction.[15] After the ark there would have been 2 of most animals and 14 of a few select mammals plus 14 of all birds.[16] These animals would be facing some of the harshest conditions the world have ever known. A flood of 376 days[17] would have killed all plant life while ocean currents between 40 to 80 meters per second would have swept everything away and buried the earth under a layer of sediment.[14]

The post flood herbivores would have absolutely nothing to eat, most of them would have starved to death. Creationists claim that the great flood deposited meters of sediment all over the earth.[18] Seeds which are heavier than silt particles would be the first to settle which would bury them far deeper then the few inches seeds need to sprout.[13] The few seeds that did get buried close enough to the surface to sprout would not provide nearly enough to sustain every herbivore on the ark. Many animals feed on large trees or their fruit, so these would have to fast a long time after the flood ended.[19]

The carnivores and omnivores on Noah's Ark would have a viable source of food for a while at least: the other animals on the ark. The carnivores and the omnivores would have quickly eaten all the herbivores and then in a couple of months would have starved themselves. The creationists explanations for this make no sense; they claim that carnivores ate corpses, fungi, and even vegetables! Animals will rarely eat corpses more than a month old, claiming that they would have gladly eaten corpses that were over a year old and most likely buried under meters of sediment is beyond reason. Most carnivores are unable to eat vegetables, and fungi do not grow too prolifically in the Middle East.

After the flood the animals would have severe trouble finding fresh water, and would have died of dehydration. The flood would have salinated the soils so all water runoff would have had high concentrations of salt. Most animals unless they are specially adapted cannot and will not drink salt water.[20]

The survivors of the ark would also face extreme difficulties breeding. The flood would have destroyed the structures necessary for reproduction. Avian species like the eagle require high trees to make their nests in,[21] these would not exist for many years after the flood, by which time the reproductive fitness of the birds would have deteriorated leading to the extinction of that "kind".


Re-population

The global flood story requires that only eight people were left alive in 2349 BCE.[22] This does not allow enough time for humans to repopulate the earth.[23] In 2000 BCE only 350 years after the flood the population of the world was 27 million.[24] To go from a population of eight to a population of 27 million in 350 years would require a population growth rate of 136.07%. That is 133% more than the fastest growing portions of the world today.[25]

The Bible also places the date of construction on the Tower of Babel roughly 100 years after the great flood.[22] Saying a population could go from 6 people (Noah and his wife don't count, they didn't have any more children) to enough people to build the Tower of Babel as it is described in the Bible is absurd. This tower was so great that it threatened God, so it must have been greater that the pyramid of Khufu which took 30,000 people to build.[26] Even a growth rate of 500%, which is absurd beyond all imagination, would only produce about half the required people to even begin to think about such a construction project.

It must also be taken into concern how people managed to return to the Western world, an area that at the time, was non-existent to the people of the Eastern Hemisphere, until maybe Lief Erikson. With eight people left in the world, some would have to travel back across the ocean to re-populate the Western Hemisphere. The indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere, having been wiped out at not even having a chance at knowing god, would not have been there at the time of Christopher Columbus' voyage: thus, the cultural revolution that occurred in the Americas would have to have never happened. The only way to re-populate the area was to travel to the Western Hemisphere and start a new culture. This would mean, by logical standards, that the people who did move to the Western Hemisphere would have had to have abandoned their culture, their tools, and even their god, for there is no record of monotheism in the Western Hemisphere. This would make them wicked people to god because of their polytheism, which ultimately destroys the purpose of the flood. But hey, god would have known this right? So it's all cool.

Rainbow

In Genesis 8, shortly after the flood, God created a covenant with man saying that he will never again send a flood to kill all life. To seal this covenant, the Bible claims God created the rainbow, implying that there never was a rainbow before the flood.[27] To the ancient Hebrew authors of this narrative, who were completely ignorant of science and believed the rainbow to be a physical object, this would have seemed perfectly plausible, but under the scrutiny of modern science this idea is absurd. There are only three possible scenarios that create an environment where rainbows would not form.

  • There was no sunlight.

Terrestrial life is dependent on sunlight, in this scenario all life would have died.[28]

  • There was no rain.

The Bible tells us of rain before the supposed creation of the rainbow.[29]

  • Light did not refract.

If light did not refract, sight would be impossible. It is light refracting in the lens of the eye that allows sight by focusing the light onto the retina.[30]

Other oddities in the narrative

Number of animals

The Bible is contradictory about the number of animals Noah had to take.[31] Genesis 6 states quite clearly that Noah had to take two of every sort including two of the fowls.

And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.[32]
Genesis 7 seven agrees partly with Genesis 6 but it says that instead of two of the fowls Noah was to take 7 of the fowls.
Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female. Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.[33]

Sons of God

The first two verses in Genesis 6 contradict 2000 years of church teaching as well as the Bible itself.

And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.[34]

The "Contemporary English Version" of the Bible describes the sons of god as "supernatural beings"[35] so it could not be that the bible is referring to ordinary men as the sons of god.

Human Lifespan

After God has seen how wicked humanity is, he decrees an upper limit on the age of humans.

"In the future, their normal lifespan will be no more than 120 years."[36]

This statement is false though, since after the flood Noah lived 350 more years.[37] Modern humans have also been documented as living more than 120 years.[38]

Giants

The Bible claims that before and after the flood there were "giants".

Genesis 6:4 There were giants in the earth in those days;[39]
Numbers 13:33 And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak[40]
The giants described in the Bible were intelligent and could talk so they would not have been classified as animals. This means that Noah would not have taken them on the Ark[41]. There is also the problem of their size — the giants described in the Bible make other people look like "grasshoppers"[42] — creatures of this size would not have fit on the ark.

Continuity of ancient civilizations

In the 24th century BCE, several ancient civilizations - notably Ancient Egypt and the Indus Valley - had existed, and continued to exist, without any sign of total extinction from a global flood.

Absence of Bacteria

Notably absent from the description of Noah's Ark are bacteria. How did he take the millions of types of bacteria along? It seems that lots of types of bacteria have been found, and there is no mention of the creation of bacteria that don't already live in animals harmlessly after the tale of Noah. Generally, a book of wisdom should at least tell you that disease is caused by bacteria, and not bad smells or blood. If a benevolent God knew all of this, keeping it away from humans is practically indirect murder. The paradoxes surrounding the supposed benevolence of many monotheistic Gods is not related to this subject; however, an ark capable of holding so many animals, and bacteria (Because if let loose they could just infect the animals and humans) would take up a huge space.

Real "Great Floods"

Several real "great floods" are thought to have occurred in prehistory, including the flooding of the mediterranean basin, forming the mediterranean sea, and the breaching of the Bosporus strait, which resulted in the Black Sea increasing to three times its original size, flooding several shoreline communities whose foundations can still be seen today. These may have been the root of the stories of great floods which pervade middle-eastern culture and have had an effect as far north as Scandinavia (whose myths may also include a folk memory of the ice ages).

References

  1. [1]
  2. Genesis 6-8
  3. All about popular issues
  4. Claim 4 - Noah's Ark
  5. 5.0 5.1 faq-Noahs ark
  6. BibleStudy.org
  7. Answers in Genesis
  8. 8.0 8.1 A critical look at Noah's voyage
  9. Talk origins:Problems with Noah's Ark
  10. Fish Cause Problems for the Global Flood
  11. Safety investigation of Noah’s Ark in a seaway
  12. Extreme science
  13. 13.0 13.1 The Impossible Voyage of Noah's Ark
  14. 14.0 14.1 PATTERNS OF OCEAN CIRCULATION OVER THE CONTINENTS DURING NOAH'S FLOOD
  15. Simberloff, Daniel, 1988. The contribution of population and community biology to conservation science. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 19: 473-511
  16. Bible study
  17. Aig:Flood chronology
  18. Three Sisters: evidence for Noah's Flood
  19. Like, several decades while those trees sprouted, grew, and matured.
  20. Ocean Water: Salinity
  21. See the Wikipedia article on eagles
  22. 22.0 22.1 Time line of the Bible
  23. The Whole Silly Flood Story
  24. World Population Growth History Chart
  25. CIA world fact book
  26. Ancient Pyramids at Giza
  27. Taking Back the Rainbow
  28. Sunlight for your life
  29. Genesis 7:12
  30. The first Rainbow? - Noah's ark is mythology and nothing more.
  31. Internal Contradictions in the Bible
  32. Genesis 6:19-20 (KJV)
  33. Genesis 7:2-3 (KJV)
  34. Genesis 6 (KJV)
  35. Genesis 6:4
  36. Genesis 6:3 (NLT)
  37. Genesis 9:28 (KJV)
  38. Oldest human beings
  39. Genesis 6:4 (KJV)
  40. Numbers 13:33 (KJV)
  41. Noah's flood:Global or local?
  42. Giants in the Bible

Adapted from RationalWiki

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